September 22

Cry baby, cry, make your mother sigh

After writing my reflection on my group’s process in Case Study 5, I thought it would be interesting to see what other experiences classmates have been having with this part of the subject. Here are my reflections on my impromptu blog tour from yesterday:

My first stops were to my case study group partners. It is interesting to see the same experience through someone else’s eyes. It can be a bit nerve-wracking, as comes up for our scenario-star in Case Study 6, as this includes seeing yourself from a different perspective as well. Dan’s initial reflection  reinforced my positive perception of our group interactions, but brought up the frustration of working with the set communication structures that are part of the Interact site. His second reflection provided some insight on leadership styles – both the difficulty of identifying some or expressing them in this particular microcosm and how our own pre-conceptions and interpretations of leadership styles and theories can sometimes get in the way of our recognising and identifying them “in the wild”. Deb’s post also opened a brief window on our group experience and struck a consistent positive note. Continue reading

September 21

Time is an illusion. Case study posting time, doubly so.

With my apologies to Douglas Adams and Case Study Group 9, time got away from me and our assembled-on-time group response was posted to the forum after the Friday midnight deadline. I think this highlights one of the potential downfalls of distributed leadership. Distributing leadership depends on having an overarching, supervising main leader from whom leadership is distributed to other parties. In the case of our case study group, since we are all trying to be leaders, yet all trying NOT to assert dominance over each other, in the end analysis something fell through the cracks. This week, the timely posting of our response was that thing.

This week was generally hard for us. More than one person commented on feeling less confident about the case study material – noting the narrowing of focus. The wiki-page creator and analysis initiator this week set things up in a slightly different way, which made it more difficult for me to connect with the material. We ended up identifying 4 major deeper issue areas for five people to comment on, but people were also slow to claim topics, so there was more confusion about who was covering what. I know that I had a hard time snapping into the frame of mind for analysing the case study while waiting for the return of the first assessment, processing the feedback when it was returned and beginning to process the requirements for the second assessment. I think a single, in-charge, following-up leader/manager would have helped our process to go more smoothly this week.

On the other hand, this week was definitely a team-bonding, relationship-building success. We had a lot of back and forth conversation in the wiki comments section and I feel we are bonding more as a team. I would not be surprised if some relationships from this group continue past the group exercise, the subject, the session and perhaps even the course. Since I feel that the greatest worth in this part of the course is the networking opportunity and the participation in and analysis of the group dynamic – I actually count this as a relatively successful week.

Five down, one to go.

September 16

By the skin of my teeth

Yay! The assessments were returned a few days early. I made it to my target (HD) by the skin of my teeth which is a great relief due to the immense uncertainty I felt about this assessment. Ironically, I felt more confident in my assessment for INF520 and I did not make it over the line for that one.

I was thankful that the written critical analysis was weighted more heavily than the concept map for this assignment. I suspect that I think more verbally than visually. I certainly found the critical analysis an easier way of unpacking, explaining and expressing my understanding than the concept map. Unsurprisingly, in that case, I received higher marks on the analysis section than on the concept map section.

Concept map of the leadership structure in a 21st century school

Concept map of the leadership structure in a 21st century school (Simon, 2019).

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September 14

Crisis of faith

Uh-oh.

I am once again losing the faith. I have stepped away from the path of true devotion and am floundering on the shoals of doubt.

I am having a crisis of belief as the modules start exploring collaboration, the TL as leader, and :booming echo-y voice: 21st Century Learning (learning… learning)…

My character arc was developing beautifully. Starting as a sceptic about the notion of TL as leader, working my way along the path of dawning realisation of different styles and paths of leadership, embracing the concepts of servant leadership and leading from the middle. I constructed my concept map and my idealised vision of the shining golden city – the Utopia of a Change-Resilient Twenty-First Century school leadership structure. It was a struggle but I was on the road to paradise.

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September 14

INF520 First Assessment Reflection

So, my first assessment back this session was the second one handed in. It was one of the most practical assignments I’ve had so far in this course – especially in the degree to which the expectation was to actually emulate the real-world documents we were asked to produce. The three components were: a press release, an annotated bibliography of resources to back up the press release, and a podcast/two minute public service announcement. All of these texts were meant to highlight the importance and challenges of preservation in the context of local history.

I was not as attentive as I should have been to the features of an authentic press release. I was more concerned about presenting the breadth of the issues that I wanted to present versus a bit more depth and personal connection to “hook” the audience. Due to the variety of ideas I was presenting, I also used a fair amount of bullet lists for clarity, in retrospect I should have taken a more traditional prose style – which may have helped me elaborate more productively. I also missed the key feature of providing my contact details for further information (though I did give website references which might be assumed to contain that information – but which require more effort than one should ask of a busy media person). The press release section represents my poorest performance on an assessment task in this course to date. Continue reading

September 14

INF520 Assessment 1 Part B – Annotated Bibliography

Museums Australia. (2005). Continuous culture, ongoing responsibilities. Retrieved from https://www.amaga.org.au/sites/default/files/uploaded-content/website-content/SubmissionsPolicies/continuous_cultures_ongoing_responsibilities_2005.pdf

This document provides in-depth information on the Museums Australia position on dealing sensitively with objects that were collected from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia. Of particular note are the sections on protocols regarding to sacred and secret objects and ancestral remains (pp. 18 -20). These include culturally appropriate storage, accessibility, display and, as appropriate, return or repatriation to the appropriate cultural custodians.   The preamble, especially pp. 6 – 9, provides a good grounding in the shift in the understanding of the role and responsibility of museums to serve as custodians and caretakers, rather than owners of local historical artefacts.

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September 14

INF520 Assessment 1A Press Release

Sydney Shines Spotlight on Local History Preservation Issues for History Week

Key issues regarding the collection and preservation of local historical artefacts will be addressed at public events sponsored by the NSW History Council throughout History  Week 2019: 31 August – 6 September.

Sydney, NSW: Michèle Cloonan[1] states “We can preserve some things some of the time, but not everything all of the time;…our notions of preservation must evolve to accommodate the imperatives of all our clientele.” Join local history experts at History Week events to find out about how the issues and challenges of preserving our local history affect you. Four key topics – significance, digital preservation, risk management, and ethics – will be explored through the events sponsored by the History Council of NSW. Further details about content are given below, times and locations can be found on the website.

  1. Personal Artefacts Roadshow

Have you ever wondered how the professionals decide what is worth collecting and preserving? Hear from the experts about how they assess significance – a leading factor in choosing which items to acquire and maintain – using examples from their institutions’ collections and artefacts from select audience members. Some considerations to be discussed include:

  • Value of the item:
    • Historical (personal, local, regional, national, or global);
    • Artistic and aesthetic;
    • Social and spiritual;
    • Scientific or research potential
  • Comparative value:
    • Provenance – can ownership and the journey of the item from its origin to now be proven and documented?
    • Rarity or representativeness;
    • Condition or completeness – is the item or collection complete? Is its condition such that it will be able to be preserved and maintained with reasonable expenditure of time, effort and money?
    • Interpretive capacity – can the item enhance our ability to document or interpret our local history or context?

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September 9

I aim to misbehave

Two major issues that are coming to the fore in the case study group work process are communication and participation. I stole my title from the Firefly character Mal Reynolds as my strategy in this particular case study session was to communicate clearly to my group my paticipation parameters – basically informing them “I aim to misbehave.” Due to my commitments in my other subject (assessment due the Monday of the case study session week) and work (Tuesday through Thursday with little room for Uni on those days) I was only able to participate in this session marginally before the Friday on which the response was due. I took the initiative to share my constraints with the group as soon as the case study email was released. This provided a space for another group member to step forward and take the initiative to facilitate the work for this session. Stepping back in this way was a bit difficult for me and shone a light on how much I like to have control over a process in which I am emotionally invested. Continue reading

September 6

The impossible dream?

Finally, an article has admitted it. “The demands of modern principalship are nearly impossible to meet (Danielson, 2007, para 5).” I feel like we have been reading and discussing leadership in this subject with rose-coloured glasses. We’ve looked at the ideal mix of leadership styles and structures to lead a 21st Century school through change. But, until now, none of our readings has acknowledged the unlikelihood of a principal (or, I would argue, a Teacher Librarian) being able to weild that mix of leadership styles, implement that balance of structures, and accomplish the array of tasks that have been set out in these ideals. Yes, there has been lip-service to teamwork and distributing leadership and the like. But, I feel that there is an overwhelming pressure being put on the students in this subject to take on a mantle of leadership that is too heavy to be sustainably carried by them as individuals. When I browsed through module four and read the various bullet-point lists relating to how we can be leaders as teachers and TLs, I nearly had a panic attack – especially thinking “Wait! I am still trying to figure out how to just get myself through the daily basic expectations of my role… how the hell am I supposed to do or show all of THIS?!”

I do want to dream and aspire and aim high. However, I would love to dream a possible dream that I have some chance of acheiving.

References

Danielson, C. (2007). The many faces of leadership. Educational Leadership, 65(1), 14-19. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept07/vol65/num01/The-Many-Faces-of-Leadership.aspx